What is a Safety Deposit and Why is it Important?
A safety deposit is a lump sum of money you give to a landlord at the beginning of renting a home or apartment. Typically, is it a full month’s rent, but many buildings, such as us, have a reduced rate. Safety deposits are important in the industry because a home is a very high value asset. Similar to renting a piece of equipment from a hardware store, you have to pay a deposit that you get back at the end of the rental period. The deposit exists to have a mutual incentive to keep the equipment in proper working order. If that piece of equipment were to be stolen or vandalized (or even sent back unclean, even though you got it clean), then the value loss of that asset is shared between the renter and the rentee. Apartment deposits work in the same way, because there is many things that can go wrong in a rental, the deposit is there to mutually mitigate the risks.
What can I do to Ensure I get my Safety Deposit Back?
We want to give your deposit back, because that means that the apartment was well taken care of over the rental period, which is great for both us and the renter. Many small things might get in the way of getting your deposit back, so this is a list of the most common reasons why a deposit may not be given back and how those reasons can be prevented.
When first moving into an apartment, the rooms are very clean. Quite often the apartment was re-painted right before you arrived, the carpets were cleaned, and every inch was detailed. It is a great experience to move into a clean room. We want that experience for every renter, which means we need the help of the previous renter to help get the apartment clean for the next person.
On Move-out, we provide a thorough cleaning checklist that you can use to make sure you have cleaned everywhere, as well as having a pre-move out, and a move-out inspection to bring attention to anything that still needs to be done. Once the renter has done their part, we go in and do the finishing touches (like new paint, or maintenance upgrades) to make sure that the next renter comes in feeling like its brand new. If the apartment is not properly cleaned, then the building manager still needs to pay someone to come in a clean the apartment, and that’s where the security deposit comes in.
Make sure to always double check your appliances when cleaning, they sometimes can build up the most and are the easiest to forget!
We understand to feel at home, it is important to hang art, shelves, and other items on the walls, and we also understand how unhomely it feels to move into an apartment already filled with holes in the walls. We encourage renters to purchase command hooks (hooks that suction to the wall with high viscosity tape) instead of nails to hang art, that way no holes are created. However, if it cannot be avoided and holes are made, we hope that the renter fills those holes before moving out.
The same can be said for big scratches on the walls and floors from moving furniture. Ask a friend to help with the moving and put a towel or sheet overtop potential sharp areas of your furniture when you move it.
Missing Payments / Fees
We try to be as clear as possible when laying out the fees of living in a building. Often we find renters can move out without realizing that there is an outstanding utility payment or other fee that was missed over the course of the rental. Always double check with your building manager about any outstanding fees on your account before leaving. We see how it can be very disappointing to expect your entire deposit back, only to find out the last utility bill or missed parking charge was taken from it before it was returned.
Make sure to always remember the renewal month of your rentals lease. Many security deposits are lost because of quick decisions to move again, or miscommunication with the site office staff about your intentions to move out. Communicating with your site management staff can help come up with the best options for vacating the premises with minimal fees incurred.
Lastly, make sure that anything you brought with you, you take away, and anything we gave to you, you give back. Often a key fob attached to your keys, or a Parking tag left in your car never makes its way back to the site office, and that can result in a replacement fee. As well, if too much furniture or garbage is left at our bins after a move out, it may result in a fee. Make sure you communicate with your site manager about what all can be left behind at the garbage bins and what items still need to be returned. Lots of Communication helps leave everyone in a much better mood, and the deposit untouched when returned.
Your Security Deposit
It’s important to remember as a renter that a security deposit is still your money, but it holds responsibility. Help keep the apartment you are renting in a high-quality state, both for your enjoyment of the space, and for your landlord to be able to rent the unit to another after you leave. We are always excited when we get to hand back a full security deposit and not have to go through the issues of nickel and diming for small issues that could have been avoided.